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The reports by CNN and Buzzfeed sent other news organizations, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, scrambling to publish their own articles, some of which included generalized descriptions of the unverified allegations about Mr. Trump. By late Tuesday, though, only BuzzFeed had published the full document.

BuzzFeed’s decision, besides its immediate political ramifications for a president-elect who is to be inaugurated in 10 days, was sure to accelerate a roiling debate about the role and credibility of the traditional media in today’s frenetic, polarized information age.

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